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larkin, the dude...
Added by: josh
some of the above comments ring true, though they seem bogged down by absolutism. what is with the need to explain away something until we are satisfied we've reached a point? "ambulances" is simply another means through which larkin can muse on one of his favourite subjects - death; and as usual, he does so with stunning brilliance and mystery.
Added by: Pippa Borton
I have to say that from all the comments I most agree with iszi, that like in many of his poems, Larkin explores the real meaning behind everyday occurances. It annoys me when people talk about trying to get a meaning out of nothing because Larkin obviously wrote poetry to tell people something! Yes, I agree over annotation (or bullshitting) is often done but to say there is no meaning is just going to the other stupid extreme. I think the ambulance represents death ("all streets in time are visited") and the poem is souly a reflection about death (its enivitability, its lonliness, its dominance-themes that continually reoccur in Larkin's work). There is sooooo much more I could say about this poem but i won't go on. But don't ever say Larkin wrote a poem with no intension of communicating something deeper than what is initially described! To say that is to deprive Larkin the recognition of his genious.
Added by: Kate
After reading all your comments I'm fascinated at how many meanings you all managed to come up with. I find Larkin's poems very ambigious myself.Maybe his motivation in writing all of his poems was to provoke debate, to present different ideas. You could argue about 'Ambulances' for forever and never come up with one single meaning that you all agree is right. There is no right or wrong answer, it's all about perspective. That is what makes Larkin's peotry so interesting.
To leanne white
Added by: jasmine lynch
well first of all; 'you losers', how insightful of you to make that swift judgement on people you have never met, based purely on their opinions on a poem that you obviously havent taken the time to look at properly. Secondly, if you have even a clue who philip larkin is, or read any of his other poems then you will surely appreciate that there is more than just a surface level to his writing. Your comments are an insult. Maybe you should take some time to study his work, and then you will understand it a little better. In fact, i think you should pay particular attention to larkins view of the ignorance of human beings.
Added by: Murray
Poor old Leanne, the thought of a hidden meaning being cleverly disguised by Larkin is just too difficult a concept for you to understand isn't it? I dont like the guy, but i accept that he has an incredible grasp on the English language. Stop sulking and try to get over your blinkered views on Larkin Leanne. Hugs and kisses x
Added by: lee
i too am studying larkin at the mo and when i first read ambulances i thought larkin was boring and depressing. but after analysing the poems i realised that that larkin was using imagery to convey his ideas. for example the imagery of colour. red/white shows stark contrast. larkin couldve used this to show the contrast between realising death is inevitable or the others who dwindle on and dont face up to the obvious things in life. also the imagery of the children "strewn" indicates the randomness of death
Added by: shumaila
a wonderful combination of mingling the every day ordinary experience with a very hard and bare reality of human life ...death. this poem haunts me and drags me to the bounderies of life.
In response to Leeanne White
Added by: Clarence
I think Leeanne White appears to be a very angry girl. Maybe someone should take her away in ambulance.
Added by: paul
I too find it fascinating that all these views have derived from just one poem. I feel that is the beauty of literature, naturally there will be a clash of opinions however it is wrong to judge someone and brand them 'losers'. These views have helped me with my AS studies.
learn the changes, and forget 'em!
Added by: josh
balls to this continuing lofty prodding! "deeper meaning" is just a cheap not-so-brainy term that fools use to make themselves appear thoughtful. we know you're thoughtful, no need to pretend. if i remember correctly, PL had a three-tier approach to poems: the poet is unable to reconcile some feeling within themself and decides to do something about it, the poet writes the poem, the poem transmits to the reader some impression of what the poet was feeling.
there is no mention of the need for "deeper meaning"; moreover, if none of you can agree on this supposed mysterious depth, perhaps larkin isn't performing well within his own definition of his job. or he intended for any number of things to arise from the poem. bingo! what do you feel when you read it? "ambulances" is about death. the "deeper meaning" is more and more death! unceasing death! the man was obsessed with the sudden shut of loss of our unique random blend! with the huge, black-sailed unfamiiar, with the soundless dark, the sure extinction, the shoebox and the shovel! certain strings of words give us ideas about death. there is a reason why he disliked discussing his work: it is as inscrutable as he was himself! he's just a painter! perhaps don't be too quick to award to language any greater clarity than colour gives us, for instance.
and anyway, what on earth could be any deeper (or any simpler, come to think of it) than death?!
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